Reviews

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 12/19/22 Review

wwe raw dec 19

This week’s WWE Raw featured Becky Lynch facing Bayley, a big ladder match between The Miz and Dexter Lumis, plus a whole lot more.

It’s Christmas week. I’m a big Christmas guy. I went out Monday night with a few friends that are in town that I hadn’t seen in a long time. I wrote this on Tuesday morning.

My plan is to post my annual WWE Johnny Awards column next week, most likely on Thursday, December 29th or maybe Friday, December 30th if I need an extra day.

This is the Raw Deal for episode #1542 of Monday Night Raw. It’s taking place at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

There was a video featuring Paul Heyman welcoming us to Raw as the Special Couse and “Wise Man” to your Tribal Chief, the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. They showed Reigns seated in the chair talking about how Raw was the home of Kevin Owens and tries to crash the gates of the island of relevancy (on Smackdown). Reigns said that Owens will need more than John Cena and will need the entire Raw locker room to have KO’s back. Reigns said that they are not going anywhere, they will make KO’s life a living hell and everybody has to acknowledge The Bloodline.

Analysis: It was a taped message from Reigns because it was the same background in his locker room that was on Smackdown last week. A warning shot for the Raw locker room.

The Bloodline was shown backstage with Solo Sikoa beating up Mustafa Ali while The Usos were holding the camera and Sami Zayn was there too beating up some security guys.

Analysis: Poor Ali. More of The Bloodline coming up throughout the show.

Raw’s commentary team was Kevin Patrick and Corey Graves as usual.

The Street Profits – Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins (w/Akira Tozawa) vs. The Judgment Day (Finn Balor & Damian Priest) (w/Rhea Ripley & Dominik)

Dominik had sunglasses on to tell the story that Asuka spit mist in his eyes to cause some eye damage. Ford unloaded on Priest with strikes to the body, then a dropkick and Priest came back with a forearm. Balor tagged in as they showed The Bloodline attacking Andre Chase (there for Main Event taping) and Solo hit Elias with a guitar to the back. Ford and Dawkins made some quick tags as they worked over Balor, who broke free to bring in Priest. Lifting flatliner by Priest on Dawkins, then a superkick and Ford kicked Priest, so Priest hit Ford with a forearm. Priest hit a running shoulder tackle to send Ford over the top to the floor. Good bump there.

(Commercial)

Balor was in control of Ford, who broke free and brought in Dawkins, who was on fire with a clothesline along with a jumping back elbow on Balor. Dawkins with a spinebuster on Priest, a splash on Balor in the corner and a jumping kick to the head. Priest was back in with a South of Heaven slam on Priest and Ford tagged in, then he jumped off the top with a Frog Splash and Balor tried a rollup on Ford for two. Dominik distracted Ford leading to Balor hitting the Slingblade neckbreaker. Balor hit a dropkick into the corner. Tozawa had a drink that he threw at Ripley, who ducked and the drink hit Dominik, who sold it like it was damaging. Ford did a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win after nine minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Street Profits – Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins

Analysis: **3/4 The match was okay with The Street Profits benefitting from their friend Tozawa at ringside to counter the presence of The Judgment Day’s allies at ringside. Dawkins was great after the hot tag. They had some decent nearfalls. The finish was the usual ROLLUP OF DEATH~! distraction finish that WWE loves to do. It doesn’t hurt Balor that much since the chaos on the floor led to the distraction.

Rhea Ripley confronted Akira Tozawa in the aisle and she punched Tozawa in the face. Ripley wanted a match with Tozawa right now.

(Commercial)

Akira Tozawa (w/Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. Rhea Ripley (w/Finn Balor, Damian Priest & Dominik Mysterio)

It’s rare to see intergender matches in WWE, but here we go. Normally male wrestlers aren’t allowed to strike women wrestlers. Ripley punched Tozawa, who flipped over and wanted to punch, but he stopped himself. Ripley hit a boot to the head for two. Ripley whipped Tozawa hard into the turnbuckle followed by forearms to the back. They fought over a suplex with Ripley hitting it. Tozawa went charging with a cross body block, but Ripley caught him. Tozawa got a sunset flip for two. Tozawa countered a Powerbomb (barely) with a hurricanrana to send Ripley out of the ring. Tozawa ran the ropes leading to Balor tripping up Tozawa. Ford and Dawkins jumped off the top onto Priest & Balor on the floor. Tozawa avoided a charging Ripley, who hit the post with her shoulder and Tozawa kicked Dominik down. Tozawa jumped off the top with a senton that wasn’t even close. Ripley hit Riptide for the pinfall win after five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Rhea Ripley

Analysis: **1/4 They went five minutes in a match where Tozawa couldn’t strike Ripley during the match. The only two moves that Tozawa did were a sunset flip and a headscissors, which are basic moves. Ripley did hit the ring post at one point, but other than that it was Ripley on offense the whole way. It was entertaining for a short match.

There was a video showing highlights of last week’s Raw with Seth “Freakin” Rollins beating Bobby Lashley in a number one contender’s match for the US Title. Lashley wasn’t happy with the referee. Lashley accidentally elbowed another referee. WWE Official Adam Pearce “fired” Lashley to end Raw, but then he took it back the next day on social media.

Adam Pearce was shown backstage talking on the phone to “Paul” (Heyman) saying he wanted to talk about all the chaos on Raw. Pearce said he had a private conversation with Bobby Lashley and it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” Lashley returns to work. MVP walked up to Pearce saying “speaking of Bobby Lashley” and MVP said he needed to talk to Pearce. They were going to go to Pearce’s office, but a referee told Pearce he needed to see some more chaos backstage.

Analysis: MVP saying “speaking of Bobby Lashley” makes me think perhaps they will be aligned again with Lashley as a heel and maybe we see The Hurt Business back together. I don’t know if that’s the plan, but Bobby has mentioned wanting to do it in a recent interview. Maybe I’m overthinking it. Then again, maybe not.

The OC made their entrance for tag team action.

(Commercial)

There was a backstage scene with Dolph Ziggler, Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin backstage getting checked on by officials (hey Hurricane) and referees. Cathy Kelley asked what happened and Ziggler said “The Bloodline happened” so that meant The Bloodline did another attack.

The OC – Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (w/AJ Styles & Mia Yim) vs. Alpha Academy – Chad Gable & Otis

Anderson and Gable exchanged holds on the mat including a hiptoss by Anderson leading to an armbar. Gallows tagged in for a double shoulder tackle. Gallows worked over Gable with punches. Some fans were chanting “we want Otis” for the heel while The OC made quick tags. Gallows punched Gable, Otis tagged in and the fans cheered as Otis avoided a charging Gallows. Otis with a corner splash on Gallows, who came back with a shoulder tackle. Anderson gave Gable a back body drop over the top and onto Otis on the floor.

(Commercial)

Gable was in control of Anderson by stretching the knee. Gable went for an Ankle Lock, Anderson kicked out of it and Gallows tagged in. Gallows with punches, a clothesline and a big boot. Otis tagged in with a spinning lefty lariat on Gallows. Great shot there with a nice bump by Gallows too. Gable tagged in, with a leap onto Otis back as Otis slammed Gallows. Gable got a two count on Gallows. Otis missed a charging attack on Anderson and Gable sent Anderson out of the ring. Gable took way too long going up top, Gable missed on a moonsault, kick by Gallows, Anderson tagged in and The OC hit a Magic Killer on Gable for the win. It went about nine minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The OC – Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson

Analysis: **3/4 A solid tag team match just like the opener was. At least it was a clean finish here. It feels like Chad Gable loses every match he has whether in singles or tags. Yes, the matches are good because of Gable, but at some point, he should pick up some wins to give him a bit more credibility. The OC guys are solid as a tag team. There just isn’t much of a storyline for them right now, so the crowd barely reacts to some of it.

The Bloodline trio of The Usos and Sami Zayn (no sign of Solo Sikoa) attacked The OC guys. Zayn sent Styles out of the ring while The Usos hit 1D on Anderson. The Usos hit 1D on Gallows as well. WWE Officials came out there to try to stop The Bloodline.

Analysis: The cheap attacks by The Bloodline continued.

(Commercial)

Let’s Hear from The Bloodline

The Usos and Sami Zayn were in the ring so Jey Uso reminded us that “The Bloodline is now in your city.” The WWE Officials including Adam Pearce were at ringside. Jimmy Uso said that this family runs this business. Sami Zayn asked what is Pearce’s problem? Zayn said that the fans had no problem with what they are doing because the fans love to hear Sami Uso. Zayn said that the fans love to hear the Uce-ologist. Zayn talked about his “dawgs” The Usos and saying they run this thing. Zayn mentioned Kevin Owens and John Cena saying that what has happened tonight is a small sample of what will happen to Owens & Cena on December 30th when they face Zayn & Reigns on Smackdown. Jey ended it by saying they are the twos and “we the ones” as usual.

The Usos and Zayn left the ring while the officials and security were watching them. When The Bloodline got near the entrance area, AJ Styles attacked Sami Zayn with a charging attack followed by some punches. They were quickly separated.

Analysis: It has been an entertaining storyline throughout the show with The Bloodline doing cheap attacks while delivering their message as well.

A replay was shown of last week when Alexa Bliss beat Bayley after Becky Lynch took out Damage CTRL’s Dakota Kai & IYO SKY from ringside. Alexa Bliss also teased doing a Sister Abigail neckbreaker on Bianca Belair as well.

They showed AJ Styles yelling at WWE Official Adam Pearce with Styles requesting a match with Sami Zayn. Pearce made the match official.

Let’s Hear from Bianca Belair and Alexa Bliss

The Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair and Alexa Bliss were interviewed by Byron Saxton in the backstage area. They were seated on chairs, there were Christmas trees in the background and a TV screen. Bliss said that Bray Wyatt abducted her, turned her into a dark, evil version of herself and then just left her with abandonment issues, which left her alone. Bliss said she went to therapy, she became a shell of a human being that she doesn’t even recognize. Bliss said that her friendship with Belair and Asuka has made her a stronger person. Bliss has nothing to lose, but she has everything to gain, starting with the Raw Women’s Championship. Belair said she sympathizes with what Bliss has been through. Belair said she knows what Bliss and Wyatt are capable of, Bliss said it’s not about him. Bliss reminded Belair that she was winning championships before Belair even walked through the door. Belair said: “Then come do it, then.” The Wyatt logo appeared on the screen. When Belair stood up, Bliss grabbed a vase of flowers on the table and smashed Belair in the head with it! Cheap shot! Saxton shouted that they need some help.

Analysis: It continued the story of Bliss being haunted by the history she had with Bray Wyatt, which caused her to do evil things. That’s why she did this cheap shot. They will probably say Bliss saying she didn’t mean to do it, but she is possessed or some shit. I don’t know. It’s a goofy storyline. I liked Bliss better as a heel without all this stuff.

It was announced that in two weeks on January 2nd on the first Raw of 2023, Belair defends her Raw Women’s Title against Bliss.

The Miz made his entrance for the ladder match.

(Commercial)

Winner Take All Ladder Match: The Miz vs. Dexter Lumis (w/Johnny Gargano)

There were two bags of money above the ring. The story is that it was The Miz’s money up there. If The Miz wins, he doesn’t have to pay Lumis what he is owed, but if Lumis wins he gets double what he was owed.

The action spilled to the floor quickly. Miz brought a ladder into the ring and Lumis tried to stop it, so Miz smashed it in Lumis’ face. Lumis drove the ladder into Miz’s ribs. Lumis sent Miz face first into the ladder that was against the turnbuckle. Lumis stood on the ladder by the turnbuckle, Miz was on the top rope and Lumis hit a superplex. Miz was against the turnbuckle, Lumis knocked the ladder down so that it was near Miz’s groin. Some fans chanted “tiny balls” and Lumis kicked the ladder into those tiny balls. Miz had about 20 seconds to move to avoid that, but he did not. Lumis climbed the ladder under the bags of money only for Miz to show up on the other side of the ladder and punch Lumis to stop the climb. They got a hold of eachother leading to both men being knocked down near the ropes.

(Commercial)

They were both on the ladder with each man reaching for the money, but Lumis won that fight with punches to knock Miz down. Miz shoved the ladder over the sent Lumis crashing into the top rope. Miz climbed up, it looked like he had it and then Lumis pulled Miz down to the mat. Lumis went for the Silence submission, Miz got out of it and hit a neckbreaker on the ring apron. Miz trapped Lumis in between a ladder. Miz tossed a ladder onto that ladder. Miz also threw some chairs onto the ladder that Lumis was trapped under. The fans chanted for a table, so Miz pulled a table out from under the ring, but Miz put it back under the ring. Miz shoved Gargano, Miz kicked Gargano in the head and punched Gargano as well. Miz sent Gargano into the barricade. Miz hit Gargano with a ladder to send Johnny over the barricade. Lumis sat back up and gave Miz a Rock Bottom slam onto a ladder that had the commentary cover on it. The fans chanted table, so Lumis placed Miz onto the Raw commentary table. Lumis climbed up the ladder and jumped off with a leg drop, but Miz moved, so Lumis went crashing through the table. That’s a painful bump for Lumis landing hard on his going through a table. The Miz climbed up the ladder, Miz probably could have grabbed the money, but he had to wait for Lumis to get up and Lumis did. Lumis shoved Miz down. Lumis reached up for the money, but that’s when Bronson Reed showed up making his WWE return. Reed sent Lumis into the ladder followed by a running body attack. Reed went up top and jumped off with the Tsunami splash on Lumis. Reed set up the ladder, he pulled Miz back up, then Reed helped Miz start his climb up the ladder and Miz was smiling about it. Miz reached up to retrieve the money. Graves: “Merry Christmas, Miz.” The match went about 19 minutes.

Winner: The Miz

Analysis: *** This was good with some big spots, but I wouldn’t say it was a classic ladder match. I thought it was too long although when it comes to Lumis it fits his slow working style. Lumis is the slowest in-ring performer in WWE. Normally, I am a supporter of wrestlers slowing down in the ring, but in this case, it’s just not that interesting to watch. Anyway, Bronson Reed was a difference-maker in this match as he helped Miz to win. Welcome back to Bronson. Reed was rumored to come back for a few months, so there he is. Another former NXT guy that Triple H used well and now we’ll see how he does on the main roster in the future.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins was shown backstage showing off his “Iowa’s Own” shirt.

They replayed some of The Bloodline’s destruction from earlier in the show.

AJ Styles made his entrance for singles action. The story is that The OC stayed in the back due to The Usos beating them up earlier.

(Commercial)

Sami Zayn made his entrance. The graphic reminded us of the big tag team match on the December 30th episode of Smackdown with Kevin Owens teaming up with John Cena against Roman Reigns and Zayn.

AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn

Zayn was wrestling in his “Honorary Uce” shirt. Styles attacked with punches followed by a background. Styles with a spinning slam into a gutbuster driving his knee into Sami’s ribs. Zayn went to the floor, so Styles attacked with a forearm. Back in the ring, Zayn went to the ropes to avoid another forearm. Zayn lifted Styles into a stun gun against the top rope. Zayn hit Styles with an elbow smash off the middle rope. Styles caught Zayn coming off the ropes leading to a backbreaker. Styles with a clothesline followed by a forearm. Styles lifted up Zayn leading to a neckbreaker. Zayn was on the floor, Styles with a knee followed by a moonsault off the apron leading to a reverse DDT on the floor. That was sweet. Styles went for a Phenomenal Forearm off the top, but Styles hit the rope leading to Styles bumping to the floor.

(Commercial)

Zayn went for a move off the turnbuckle, but Styles caught him with a Rack Bomb slam off the shoulders for a two count. Zayn with a kick to the head to avoid a Styles Clash attempt. Zayn blocked a DDT attempt, Zayn with a boot to the head and Zayn hit a brainbuster for two. Styles came back with a Pele Kick with Graves wondering if we should call it a Messi now in honor of the Argentinian great that won the World Cup on Sunday. Styles went for a move off the ropes, Zayn caught him and Zayn hit an Exploder Suplex into the turnbuckle. Zayn charged, but Styles got a trip into a Calf Crusher. Zayn got to the ropes. Solo Sikoa was in the crowd and walked down the steps toward the ring with Styles looking at him. Zayn got a rollup for two followed by a jawbreaker. Styles with boots, then a forearm to the head and Styles went after Solo by the barricade. Solo didn’t touch Styles, but Styles punched Solo. Styles sent Zayn into the steel steps and commentary table. Solo hit Styles with a Samoan Spike that the referee didn’t see. Zayn hit the Blue Thunder Bomb for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Sami Zayn

Analysis: ***1/4 A really good match between two of the best guys in WWE. They weren’t going out there to do some crazy spots, but it was solid technical wrestling the whole way. It’s rare to see Zayn win with the Blue Thunder Bomb. It wasn’t clean, but at least he won with the move that usually gets him a two count. It was another finish with interference since Solo cost Styles the match. We see interference/distraction finishes a lot in this Triple H era of booking shows. Zayn getting the win makes sense to build him up for the big December 30th tag team match on Smackdown.

Adam Pearce showed up to yell at Zayn and Sikoa about what they did.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins was shown walking backstage for a promo up next.

(Commercial)

A commercial aired for next week on Raw: The Absolute Best of 2022.

Analysis: A rare taped highlight of Raw next week. Fine with me. The Raw superstars will be at a live event in Columbus, Ohio, but they are not doing a new episode of Raw that night. I’m not going to review it. Maybe a quick write-up of what takes place, but I’m taking that week off.

Let’s Hear From Seth “Freakin” Rollins

Seth “Freakin” Rollins made his entrance wearing a sparkly red jacket and pants. They announced that Rollins will challenge Austin Theory for the US Title on the first Raw of 2023 on January 2nd. Rollins earned the title shot after beating Bobby Lashley.

The crowd was singing along with his song while Rollins welcomed Des Moines, Iowa to Monday Night Rollins. The fans chanted “welcome home” since Rollins is from Davenport, Iowa. Rollins said he loved being home. Rollins talked about The Bloodline is back in the house, they have been jumping everybody except him and Rollins said he has a message for The Tribal Chief. Rollins: “Roman, Mondays don’t belong to you.” Rollins said Mondays belong to him while running down his nicknames.

Austin Theory interrupted with the US Title on his shoulders. The fans chanted “you suck” at Theory. Austin said that nothing belongs to Seth. Theory said that Rollins claimed that this was “THE” title on Monday Night Raw, so that means that the “Champ Is Here.” A John Cena reference by Theory right there. Theory said that the Austin Theory is here forever and this is just the beginning. Theory told Rollins that he will pass the torch to Theory and if you don’t, Theory will take it from his cold, legendary fingers. Rollins said, “Merry Christmas to you, kid.” (Theory hates being called “kid” as we know.) Rollins said to keep your cool and don’t end up like Bobby Lashley. Theory said that Rollins is standing here because Lashley was focused on officials instead of Rollins. Theory told Rollins he got out of it because he got lucky.

Rollins wondered why Theory was always so angry. Rollins put over Theory, but then he agreed with the crowd saying that Theory sucks. Rollins said that Theory has grown up, he’s not Mr. Selfie anymore, he’s not daddy’s little boy anymore and Theory is the US Champion. Rollins told Theory that he will never be Rollins as long as Seth is there. Rollins told Theory that he is not on Seth’s level, which led to the crowd singing Seth’s song.

Theory said he sees right through Rollins. Theory noted that Rollins has been given the ball a lot, but he has fumbled just like his Bears. Theory said that he’s coming for the mountaintop and told Rollins that he should realize he was just third best member of The Shield. Rollins shouted back saying he was the mountaintop, he is Everest and said that the man makes the title. Rollins told Theory they should find out what kind of man and champion he is right now. Rollins wanted Theory to put the title on the line right now.

The Usos showed up at ringside. Rollins wanted Theory to fight with him, but Theory chose to leave instead like the heel that he is. The Usos were all alone against Rollins with The Usos getting control of the situation until Kevin Owens made the save. Owens went down to the ring to throw Jimmy into the barricade. Owens went into the ring as Rollins got back up and they knocked Jey out of the ring. The Usos wanted to go back in the ring, but WWE Officials, including Adam Pearce, were there again.

Kevin Owens said that he thinks Des Moines wants to see the two of them kick The Usos’ asses. Owens said he should team up with Iowa’s favorite son Seth Rollins against The Usos right here tonight. Pearce made the match official.

Analysis: That was a great segment with a strong promo exchange from Rollins and Theory building to a title match in two weeks. It also was a way to set up the main event tag team match with Owens and Rollins reunited again. I thought it was effective. On a final note, I think Jon Moxley started bleeding when he heard that line about The Shield. He tends to do that a lot.

Becky Lynch was shown backstage talking about how she wanted to fight the best version of Bayley, which is a solo act. Bayley said they rose up and changed the game with careers that they should be very proud of. Lynch said that she did this by herself. Lynch trashed Bayley for not having the decency of taking out Lynch by herself. Lynch wondered if it will be 1 on 1 or 1 on 3 while saying win or lose, she’ll die on her own sword while Bayley can’t say the same thing.

Bayley made her entrance with the Women’s Tag Team Champions Dakota Kai & IYO SKY for the Bayley-Lynch match up next.

(Commercial)

Becky Lynch made her entrance to a good pop. Their last singles match was in April 2019, so it’s been over three years.

Bayley (w/Dakota Kai & IYO SKY) vs. Becky Lynch

They did some mat wrestling early on with Lynch getting control as she worked on the left arm, but Bayley sent Lynch to the ropes. Lynch kicked Bayley, who bumped to the floor. Lynch jumped off the apron with a forearm smash on Bayley on the floor. They battled on the apron, so Bayley sent Lynch face first into the middle turnbuckle leading to a break.

(Commercial)

Bayley was in full control with a suplex for two. Lynch came back with a running kick that was like a dropkick, but more of a jumping single leg kick to the head. They exchanged forearms, Lynch with a back kick to the gut, and Lynch hit a back kick. Lynch hit a Bexploder Suplex on Bayley followed by a whip into the turnbuckle. Lynch jumped off the middle rope with a leg drop for two. Bayley kicked Lynch in the leg, then Lynch got a reverse into a pin attempt for two and Bayley hit a belly-to-back suplex for a two count. Lynch went for a backslide pin, Bayley got out of that and Bayley kicked the leg again. Bayley hit a running clothesline to the back. Lynch hit a reverse DDT for two. Lynch went for a leap off the ropes, but Bayley avoided it. Lynch pulled Bayley off the ropes, then Bayley hit the Bayley to Belly suplex for a two count because that is not her finisher anymore. Lynch countered a Roseplant attempt leading to a back suplex. Lynch hit an impressive Diamond Dust neckbreaker off the turnbuckle for a two count. Bayley got a double leg trip leading to a pin attempt with her feet on the ropes, but the referee saw it. Kai and Sky pulled Bayley out of the ring to save her from a move, so Lynch dropkicked Bayley on the floor. The referee ejected Kai and Sky from ringside. Lynch punched Kai followed by some stomps. Bayley hit Lynch in the back with a TV monitor because the referee was looking at Kai and Sky. Bayley hit Lynch with the Roseplant for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bayley

Analysis: ***1/2 I liked this match. This was an entertaining match between two of the best women in WWE right now and really two of the best of all time as well. The crowd wasn’t into the match as much as I thought they would be. Obviously, it was a cheap win for Bayley because she got the distraction from Kai & Sky leading to the cheap shot with the monitor, which led to the Roseplant to win. Lynch was busting out all kinds of moves, she controlled a lot of the match, but in the end, it was the numbers game that played a factor. They can probably go back to the match again down the road and maybe do it without anybody at ringside, which should lead to Lynch getting the win when they do it again.

Bayley celebrated the win with Damage CTRL. They didn’t show any replays, which is a bit of a surprise.

The Usos were shown getting ready for the main event tag team match.

(Commercial)

The Undertaker will be in Montreal on Tuesday, February 16th telling stories about his career, just two days before Elimination Chamber. Tickets are on sale now.

They showed replays of how the main event was set up.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins was shown getting ready with Kevin Owens with Rollins asking why they stopped teaming together in the past. Owens said it was because Rollins was trying to steal KO’s WrestleMania spot with Steve Austin. Owens said that tonight is about beating the hell out of The Bloodline. Rollins did his laugh about it to show he was ready.

The Usos were up first as the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions and they have been champions for 519 days according to Kevin Patrick. That main event was up next.

(Commercial)

The babyfaces were next with Kevin Owens up first followed by Seth “Freakin” Rollins with the crowd singing along with the song again.

Kevin Owens & Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)

It’s a non-title match. Rollins and Owens jumped The Usos before the bell leading to Rollins sending Jey into the turnbuckle. The bell rang to start the match. Jey ran the ropes leading to Rollins hitting him with an elbow smash. Owens with an elbow smash on Jey, then a boot to the head and Jimmy kicked Owens in the back when the referee wasn’t looking. Jey kicked Rollins off the apron to the floor.

(Commercial)

Jimmy missed a corner splash on KO and Jimmy hit the ring post with his hand. Owens hit a DDT on Jimmy. Rollins tagged in against Jey with two clotheslines, a Slingblade neckbreaker and running elbow in the corner. Rollins with a backbreaker for two. Rollins went for The Stomp, Jey avoided it and Rollins hit a superkick. Rollins hit knocked down both Usos followed by Rollins going up top and hit a double cross body block. Owens tagged in with a Frog Splash off the top onto Jimmy for two. That came right after Jey superkicked Rollins on the floor. Owens wanted a Swanton Bomb off the top, but Jimmy got the knees up to block. Solo Sikoa showed up at ringside, but he was met by The OC’s Gallows & Anderson, so Jey hit a dive over the top onto Gallows & Anderson. Rollins hit a running somersault over the top onto Jey and Solo on the floor. Rollins sent a running Solo into the ring post. Rollins hit Jey with The Stomp on the floor. Jimmy battled KO by the turnbuckle. Right before that, Austin Theory hit Rollins with the US Title to the head. I guess the referee never saw that and Rollins wasn’t legal. Jimmy broke free of Owens leading to a superkick for two. Jimmy went up top, he jumped off with nothing because Owens moved and Owens hit a superkick. Jimmy avoided a Powerbomb, but then Jimmy charged into it and Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Kevin Owens & Seth “Freakin” Rollins

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a fun match that was full of action, along with some chaos on the floor. Owens doesn’t always win with the Popup Powerbomb anymore since he uses The Stunner as a finisher, but it’s good to have him win with that sometimes. Rollins was taken out by Theory with the US Title after Rollins hit Jey with The Stomp, so that’s why it was down to Owens and Jimmy at the end of the match. The Usos lost a non-title match for the second month in a row since they lost to Drew McIntyre & Sheamus last month before Survivor Series. I think they wanted Owens to get the win since he’s in the big tag on December 30th with John Cena against Roman Reigns & Sami Zayn. Plus, Owens is likely challenging Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble, so they want to keep Owens strong going into that.

After the match, they showed replays of the key spots toward the finish.

Kevin Owens was in the ring celebrating the win when his former best friend Sami Zayn slid into the ring behind him. Owens turned around to stare at Zayn before Zayn tried to attack. Owens took off his wrist tape. Zayn backed out of the ring to avoid a confrontation and Zayn helped The Usos back up.

They plugged the big December 30th Smackdown tag team match and Theory vs. Rollins in two weeks on Raw. Owens and Rollins were standing around the ring while The Bloodline was by the entrance. End show.

Analysis: There was a tease of physical contact between Owens and Zayn, but they didn’t touch. A nice way to build to the tag team match on December 30th when they’re on opposite teams.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Seth “Freakin” Rollins/Kevin Owens
  2. Bayley/Becky Lynch
  3. Sami Zayn/AJ Styles

 

The Scoreboard

7.75 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

 

Final Thoughts

I thought it was a great Raw this week. A nice mix of quality matches, some surprises, strong promos and advancing storylines well throughout the show. They even did something unique by having Rhea Ripley beat Akira Tozawa, which is not the kind of match they normally book. Tozawa did two very safe moves in the match, yet they were able to go five minutes. Alexa Bliss continued her weird behavior continued as she smashed a vase over Bianca Belair’s head, so that attack adds to that story as well.

There are some weeks of Raw where the last hour is the worst part of the show, but this week it was the best. They used it to build to the Theory/Rollins title match in two weeks and that was followed by a great match between Bayley/Lynch with a cheap ending that should lead to a rematch some day. I liked the main event with Owens/Rollins beating The Usos as well.

The WWE return of Bronson Reed has been rumored for several months, so now he’s back and on the main roster after helping The Miz beat Dexter Lumis. That Miz-Lumis ladder match was okay, but it was more about the story with Miz cheating to win because that fits the kind of guy that The Miz is. I also liked the Sami Zayn-AJ Styles match a lot although as usual, there were a lot of distraction finishes on the show.

Anyway, that’s the last Raw of the year. Next week it’s a recap show that they are calling: “The Absolute Best of 2022.” I don’t plan on reviewing it.

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John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport